Countryside  

THE MAREMMA COUNTRYSIDE:

The gently rolling Maremma countryside has vast sunflower cultivations, wheat fields and fruit orchards, as well as vineyards and olive groves: a variety of important agricultural products. The cattle grazing throughout this area, big structured, grey, long-horns, were once used to draw plows and wagons but are now raised exclusively for meat and breeding. Maremma is also the original supplier of the famous Murelli artichokes so tender that they can be eaten raw with salad dressing. A vast, swampy region lies east of the capital: when the Etruscans lived here it was a lake, well stocked with fish, called Prile. Today it is an important wild life reserve, home for a great many migratory birds. The remains of the 'Casa Rossa' (Red House) stand in its midst, a symbol ot the reclamation which took place during the last century.

 

ETRUSCAN COAST:

The colours and the scents of Tuscany blend with the light and the fragrances of the Mediterranean Sea along the Costa degli Etruschi. The Etruscan sites, (like Vetulonia, Roselle, Populonia and Volterra), the crystal-clear sea, the mediaeval villages, the natural parks and reserves all make the land of Tuscany unique. Here every season of the year has its own striking beauty. You can choose; first of all the sea, edged with long soft beaches that border shady pinewoods or cliffs carved by the wind and the waves, and studded with welcoming tourist resorts. This is a living corner of the Mediterranean sea. Then Nature; The environment, which is incredibly rich, shelters botanical oases, sanctuaries for fauna, woods and thick pine forests. The countryside, typically Tuscan, is crossed by the prestigious Wine Road, characterized by noble vines and silver olives trees.  This magic itinerary unwinding between the sea and the countryside gives you the opportunity to discover artistic, cultural and architectural treasures, the heritage of this land. The Etruscans have left important traces of their past presence, such as the only necropolis build by the sea (Populonia). Rare finds are carefully preserved in local museums. The historical villages, which have preserved their medieval architecture intact, provide ample evidence of the past.

 

CUISINE and LOCAL PRODUCTS:

For those wishing to rediscover the ancient traditions of a genuine cuisine, the local oeno-gastronomy avails itself of many typical products that are exalted in dishes of fish and meat. In the Trattorias and Restaurants the protagonists are both products of the sea, such as amber-jack, sea bass, gray-mullet, and blue fish and game such as wild boar, hare and pheasant. Many of the pasta dishes are home-made, accompanied by game sauce; then there are the varieties of fish soup prepared with whatever the sea has to offer that day, all seasoned with famous Tuscan olive oil and accompanied by the excellent wines of the zone. Homemade bread brings out the flavors of the many 'bruschette' and especially of the olive oil, one of the local cooking's most select condiments, considered among the best in TuscanyThere are no elaborately concocted dishes, but rather the clear cut taste of authentic products. "Crostini", small grilled sandwiches, prepared with liver pate', or mushrooms and sausages made with wild boar meat are typically Maremma starters. Vineyards alternate with olive groves and the wine produced is the perfect accompaniment to the flavors of the Maremma's first courses such "acqua cotta"  or "Tortelli" and the main courses of wild boar or grilled fish.In fact, the territory of Castiglione falls within the production zone of the D.O.C. Monteregio, which includes various typologies of red, rose' and white wines, Vin Santo and Vermentino. Another excellent wine produced around Castiglione is the 'Morellino di Scansano' considered one of the most important Italian red wines and it is the most typical from the Maremma. 

FOOD FAIRS, FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

Tasting tours let you discover food and wine events along the coast and inland. These events, set in quaint places, promote traditional recipes and delicious dishes. Many villages along the coast and inland offer the opportunity to taste characteristic dishes of the Maremma gastronomic tradition and to enjoy folk shows celebrating historical past events and the passing of the seasons. The seafood cuisine reign supreme during some of the Fish festivals, where huge amounts of good-quality fish are fried in a giant frying-pan.

HUNTING AND FISHING:

The Maremma offers satisfactory expeditions to sportsman during the hunting and fishing seasons. The great Boar hunt in Tirli, marchlands birds and pheasant are all valid hunting attractions. For the fisherman, instead, there are bluefish, bass, whiting and mullet all waiting to be hooked. Skin diving is common along the rockier parts of the coast. A special attraction is the possibility of an invitation to go out on one of the trawlers setting sail at sunset to return at dawn.

VISITING / EXCURSIONS (LONG AND SHORT):

The Etruscans, that mysterious population which, for seven centuries preceding Christ's birth, dominated what is now Tuscany and then Etruria, have left countless signs of their great and cultured civilization. Besides Vetulonia, an important Etruscan settlement, just a few kilometers from Castiglione, there is a fair sprinkling of famous Etruscan areas easily reached by the visitors: Tuscania, Tarquinia, Cerveteri, Volterra, Roselle and Populonia.

Tere are several easy, unhurried daylong excursions from Castiglione, and visits to the off-shore islands (Elba, Giglio, Giannutri, Monte Christo and other smaller ones as well). If the world of the Etruscans fascinates yoy, thre are several areas of real, archeological interest in rthe immediate surroundings. besides Vetulonia, there are the following towns and villages: Roselle, Sovana, Grosseto (with its fine 'Museo Archeologico della Maremma"), Populonia, Ansedonia, Talamone, Tarquinia, Tuscania and Volterra (with its "Museo Etrusco").  If the love of nature beckons, animals roaming free, the flight of birds, it is easy to wander through the marches of Diaccia near "Casa Rossa", on foot, where white and ashen herons, coots, wild ducks, long-tailed cuckoos all live in harmony. There are two wild-life preserves with marked trails, that really should be visited: one is the World Wildlife Fund Reserve near Burano lake, The Bolgheri reserve and the Maremma park at the mouth of the Ombrone river.

An excursion to Saturnia is always interesting; famous for its warm water (37^ C. pool) and the very comfortable hoter nearby; at Sovana, the church of Santa Maria, the Duomo, the 13th century Aldobrandini fortress, the Magistrates' palace and the Municipal building; then a Sorano, the enormous Orsini castle; Pitigliano also has a 14th Cetury Duomo (The facade was redonethe 18th century) and an acueduct dating from 1545. The city Museum has many archeological artifacts from the nearby digs. Other villages to visit are: Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Arcidosso, Santafiora, Castel del Piano, Roccastrada and others.  For long trips, Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Volterra and San Gimignano are only one day's trip.

   

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